UPS publishes economy wide fleet EVs study

New research published by UPS suggests that there are a number of barriers to delivery companies moving to electric vehicles (EVs) despite a widespread enthusiasm for the technology.

In the “Curve Ahead: The Future of Fleet Electrification” report, industry leaders identified the main motivations and barriers to electrification, as well as strategies to move the commercial electric vehicle market from niche to mainstream.

Of the respondents, 55% said that the top barrier was the initial purchase price of EVs. The next issue was the lack of on-site charging infrastructure (44%). 92% felt that their facility is not very well equipped to handle commercial charging needs. Fewer than half of the businesses were working with government to address this however.

There is enthusiasm to go electric however. Some 83% of those surveyed saw this as a key part of sustainability and environmental goals. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is much lower than fossil fuel vehicles – another driver, with some 64% pointing this out.

Those interviewed suggested ways out of these issues. Many are starting small by replacing retired fossil fuelled vehicles with EVs instead of large fleet purchases. Others are considering leasing. They are looking at the role of the EV, with urban deliveries being used as against longer runs being used by fossil fuel vehicles. Other factors included the size and distribution of fleets across regions, the costs of electricity and access to charging infrastructure.

“The challenges of cost and infrastructure requirements can be daunting, but we’ve begun to see solutions emerge,” said Scott Phillippi, UPS senior director of automotive maintenance and engineering.

“In the U.S., we recently ordered 50 electric-powered delivery trucks that we anticipate will be at cost parity with conventional diesel-powered vehicles. And in London, we were able to find a solution for our charging needs through a collaboration between government and private organisations. The business case, combined with growing preference for EVs from cities and national governments, will help us to reach a tipping point to large-scale EV fleet adoption.”